Alternative giving is a form of gift giving in which the giver makes a donation to a charitable organization on the gift recipient’s behalf, rather than giving them an item. Each year, Old First provides an Alternative Gift option for those who may be searching for a special way to acknowledge someone in their life. This year, our Alternative Gift option will support Adopt a South African Preschool (henceforth ASAP). The founder of ASAP is one of the Clergy in Residence at our sister church, United Christian Church in Levittown, which is how we became aware of this ministry. Rev. Nancy Schongalla is a strong advocate for preschool children living in impoverished townships in South Africa and was called to create this mission after witnessing the ongoing legacy of Apartheid while on a trip to South Africa in 2018.
Our alternative gift program this year will benefit South African children who are being cared for in “creches” or informal in-home daycares where the caregivers lack early childhood training and access to educational toys or toys of any kind! All of our donations will go directly to fund Educational Toy Libraries in the preschool hubs ASAP is creating to train caregivers as they borrow toys. Outreach can include as many as 60 creches in a 6-mile radius of an ASAP preschool hub. Parents are working and unavailable to provide the quality of education and play that we Americans expect and are accustomed to. This program offers young children an opportunity to “play and learn” so they can succeed in school. And, mentoring empowers caregivers to become preschool teachers in their own creches.
The following descriptive information is from the Adopt a South African Preschool website and is being used with permission:
“A disproportionate number of preschool children in South Africa live below the poverty line.
Many of these children grow up in single-mother households, not knowing who their fathers are. More than 56% of birth certificates in South Africa lack the name of a father. Someone must look after the children while their mothers work, look for work, or beg. The official unemployment statistic is 34% although in reality it is much higher, especially among 20-30 year-olds.
In the inner-city of Pretoria, often 20-40 children sit in front of a TV all day in the apartment of a woman who has taken them in to earn money. No intentional preschool education takes place in these “creches” since the caregiver is not trained in early childhood development and lacks resources for educational toys. Government funding for preschools is very limited and qualified teachers are often not available in impoverished areas. As a result, nine out of ten six-year-olds, from the poorest 40% of households, are not ready for public kindergarten.
By the time these children are fourth graders, 80% can neither read nor comprehend. This huge deficit is seldom overcome. Instead, students drop out, become pregnant, or join gangs in search of self-esteem or power.” —
Please start thinking about who you would like to honor with a gift. Old First will soon have a donation link on the website and you can always send checks into church. Please send a note with your check stating who your alternative gift recipient is (and their address) so I can send them a card notifying them of your gift on their behalf. I can also send you a card with information about ASAP that you can fill out and give to your loved one.
If you prefer to make a donation by check, please make checks payable to Old First Church with “Alternative Gift” in the memo line. Please include a note with the name and address of the person who you would like to receive a gift notification.
If you would like to donate online directly to the program, you can do that too! Here is a direct donation link: https://givebutter.com/adoptasouthafricanpreschool
Typically, I would be setting up a table to collect and advertise our Alternative Gift program. Like last year, you will see me online instead of live. We will offer time in church for Rev. Nancy Schongalla to present information about ASAP in the coming weeks.
Please contact me with any questions: Billi firstname.lastname@example.org or 267-520-0681 (Google number)